Saturday, 2 July, 2022
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New captain Rohit happy to groom India's future leaders

Rohit Sharma said Wednesday he was happy to help train possible successors following his recent appointment as India's cricket captain across all formats in place of Virat Kohli.

The star batsman was named Test captain on Saturday -- he was already white-ball skipper -- but since he will turn 35 in April pundits do not expect his tenure to be a long one.

India's cricket board has identified three possible candidates all in their 20s to follow him eventually -- Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant.

"I won't have that much of a role of telling them each and everything, obviously they are all mature cricketers but someone needs to be around them to help and guide them in difficult situations and (I am) more than happy to do that," Rohit told his first press conference after taking over the Test job.

"We were groomed by someone else, so it's a natural process. If you talk of Bumrah, KL, Pant, they have a big role to play in India's success at the same time they are looked upon as leaders as well."

India's pace spearhead Bumrah, 28, has been appointed vice-captain in the upcoming series of three T20s and two Tests at home to Sri Lanka beginning Thursday.

KL Rahul, 29, who captained the ODI team in South Africa in January, remained unavailable due to injury.

The 24-year-old Pant, a wicketkeeper-batsman who leads Indian Premier League team Delhi Capitals, has also been earmarked as a future captain by pundits including batting great Sunil Gavaskar.

"Again we don't want to put pressure on these guys," Rohit said. "They are very critical to us and at the moment we just want them to enjoy their game, come out freely and execute (their) skills."

- 'Great mind' -

On Bumrah's elevation to the deputy's job in T20 and Tests, Rohit said the role would only add to his promise as a lethal fast bowler -- with 113 Test wickets since his 2018 debut.

"It doesn't really matter too much if it's a batter or bowler as the vice-captain, it's the mind that matters of that individual. And I think Jasprit Bumrah has a great mind of the game," Rohit said.

"It's a good way to step into the leadership role now. Obviously he has taken his game to the next level and I am sure he will continue to do that even further. But this is only going to add and get him more confident in whatever he wants to do on the field."

Bumrah was named vice-captain for the first time in the ODI series in South Africa earlier this year.